dima
  • Trans Siberian Railway

    A journey into the Far East

    This summer I travelled on the Transsibirskaya Zheleznodoroznaya Magistral’ or better known as Transiberian Railway, from Moscow to Vladivostok, riding a train for over 9000 km. I photographed the trip and the people I met along the way. I chose to travel in the platscart , the third class carriage, where I talked to soldiers on leave, families on their way back from holidays which can not afford to travel by plane, students travelling home for the summer holidays. If one never gets off the train, the journey from Moscow to Vladivostok lasts 6 days. The train’s speed is on average 90 km/h, the speed of a regional train. The train makes multiple stops and at the stations, waiting on the platforms, all kinds of sellers can be found. Usually they are women and they sell scarves, waffel filled with condensed milk, blueberries. Some of them carry a metal hanger where the smoked fish is hanging from the eye socket. Each carriage is run and administered by a key figure, in most cases a woman, called provodnitsa.  She is responsible for maintaining the order on the train, checking tickets and passports, handing out bedsheets, and she is also the person that wakes you up 30 minutes before you need to get off the train. I decided to get off the train multiple times, so that my trip lasted a month. The first stop was Ekaterinburg, a city located close to the Urals mountains, which separate eastern and western Russia. Here begins Siberia, an immense region extending until the Pacific Ocean. After Ekaterinburg I got back on the train and I stopped in Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, then I stayed for 5 days on Olkhon Island, an island on lake Bajkal, the deepest lake in the world. Finally I went back to Irkutsk, where I caught a train to Ulan Ude. After Irkutsk the landscape and the people started to change, people started to resemble Mongolian people in their features. The only thing that still makes one feel that one’s in Russia is the language. Around Ulan Ude, Buddhist temples can be found and a strong tradition of shamanism too. After Ulan Ude I’ve been to Chita, Birobidzhan, the capital of the Jewish autonomous region, Khabarovsk and finally, at dawn, I arrived in the Far East, in Vladivostok.